My Neighborhood Library :: Irmo Branch


libraruheadimgNestled on St. Andrews Road in Irmo is a building my family and I have come to adore. It is a place where the young and young at heart mix and mingle with one common goal: to escape into a good book.

The Irmo Branch Library has been my neighborhood library since I moved to the area in high school. As a junior at Irmo, I used the public computers to research the Civil War. As a senior I tutored elementary school children in reading as part of my community service projects for Teacher Cadets.

Now, a decade later, I make weekly treks to Irmo Branch to foster my daughter’s love of books through the library’s fantastic programming. The children’s programs at Irmo Branch are so richly diverse, from puppet shows featuring Pork Chop Productions to a cosplay party for teens; there really is something for every age.

Awesome Programs

Have a baby at home? Lapsit is designed for children ages birth to 11 months old. This program encourages early development and enjoyment of language and literature through stories, rhymes, fingerplays, and songs.

What about a Toddler? Take him to Toddlertime! Toddlertime is an interactive program for children and their caregivers that introduces toddlers to books, nursery rhymes, fingerplays, and songs. The program is broken into two groups, one for ages 12-23 months and the other for 24-35 months.

Pre-school age little one? Preschool Storytime is for ages 3-5 and is a fun way to introduce preschoolers to the best in children’s books and poetry, which also helps with them develop the socialization skills they will need when they begin school. These programs last about 30 minutes.

Summer Reading! From birth through high school, the library encourages children to read for pleasure during the summer with incentives like tickets to Blowfish baseball games and coupons to Sonic! There will be a huge kick off party on June 3 from 4 – 6 p.m. featuring a performance from Story Squad.

Note: Registration is requested for all of these programs to ensure a quality program for all.

Incredible Staff

Youth Services Librarian Holly Birkelien is one of the many smiling faces at Irmo Branch Library!
Youth Services Librarian Holly Birkelien is one of the many smiling faces at Irmo Branch Library!

The children’s programming at Irmo Branch is incredible due in many parts to the enthusiasm and dedication of Youth Services Librarian, Holly Birkelien. An Irmo High grad herself, and graduate of the School of Library and Information Science at USC, Holly brings a sincere passion for youth literacy to her “dream job” at Irmo Branch Library.

You only have to take part in one of the many children’s programs Holly leads to see how much she loves being a youth services librarian. Whether she is dancing her wiggles out during Toddler Story Time or throwing a birthday party for Dr. Suess, Holly brings true joy to the children’s section of Irmo Branch as well as an abundance of knowledge.

When I asked Holly what one piece of advice she had for fostering a love of books in children she told me:

This may seem rather obvious: Read to them. Children who are read to get to spend quality time with you, which we all know they love. When you start doing this before they can even comprehend everything you are saying, you are showing them that reading time is a special time that you spend together, and as they begin to reach their milestones, they will want to interact while you read by helping you turn pages, naming objects they recognize, acting out what’s happening, etc. etc. Starting early and keeping it up are crucial, and even though people are super busy these days, just reading for 20 minutes a day with your child would be enough.

Be sure to stop by the circulation desk and say hi to the rest of the staff who will gladly help you find a great new story for your kids or provide your budding artist with paper and crayons to help decorate their surroundings.

Come in on a rainy day and you might find Miss Jackie, a lovely youth services library assistant, holding an after school story time surrounded by stuffed animals. While you are there take advantage of the children’s play area with its array of puzzles and awesome wall length interactive display board which is designed for early literacy development in pre-readers.

And of course, borrow a few books. With a plethora of exciting titles and new books stocked monthly, your little one will love picking out their own collection.

Irmo Branch Library is located at 6251 St. Andrews Road, Columbia, SC 29212

(803) 798-7880

Branch Hours:

Monday – Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

What do you love about Irmo Branch or your neighborhood library? Tell us below!


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